After a long winter and possibly no days off work for months, you're looking forward to the three-day Memorial Day weekend. Whether it's spending time at the cabin, having friends over for a backyard barbeque, or swimming at the local beach, you can't wait to have fun and relax. If you have a dog, she may be joining in the long weekend activities as well. With all of the commotion of a holiday weekend, it's easy for your dog to get sick or injured. Fortunately, most situations are preventable with proper supervision.
Dogs Don't Belong Near the Grill
Whether you're manning the grill or a guest at someone else's home, make sure to keep your dog away from it at all times. Besides the obvious risk of burns, matches and lighter fluid are dangerous to animals if ingested. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, matches contain harmful substances that can cause breathing difficulty and damage to blood cells and kidneys if swallowed. Lighter fluid can cause skin irritation by contact and respiratory and gastric problems if ingested.
Stick to Your Dog's Regular Diet
Do not allow anyone to give your dog table scraps or any beverage containing alcohol. Foods like onions, avocados, raisins, grapes, and yeast dough are especially problematic. Giving alcohol to dogs is a cruel practice, not a funny one. Even a small amount of beer, wine, or spirits could cause your dog to become severely intoxicated and sick. Larger amounts of alcohol may put him in a coma or even cause death.
Don't Assume Your Dog Can Swim
Although swimming comes naturally to some breeds of dogs, never leave your dog unattended near open water assuming that she can swim. If you choose to take your dog swimming over Memorial Day weekend, make sure that you're in the water with her. Most dogs love going for a boat ride with the family, but remember that they need a life jacket too.
Use Sunscreen and Insect Repellent Made for Animals
Sunscreen meant for humans can cause lethargy, excessive thirst, diarrhea, vomiting, and drooling in dogs while insect repellent can cause respiratory distress, pneumonia, and damage to the nervous system. While it's important for you to provide this protection for your dog, just make sure that you choose canine products.
Plan for the Best and Prepare for the Worst
With careful planning and constant supervision, the holiday weekend with your dog can be enjoyable for everyone. Grantsburg Animal Hospital recommends that you pack a first-aid kit if you're traveling or have one in a handy location at home if you're entertaining guests. Since dogs are more likely to run off when they're excited or stressed, make sure that your pooch has an ID tag as well as a microchip with current contact information.
Happy Memorial Day to your family from the staff at both of our Wisconsin locations.
Photo Credit: ScrappinStacy / iStock Photo
Fleas: A Wingless, Blood-Sucking Insect
Fleas are microscopic parasites that can jump up to two feet in the air and consume up to 15 times their weight in blood. A single flea can live between two weeks and 12 months, producing millions of offspring in that time. Fleas spend the majority of their short life in the environment, not on your pet's fur. This can make them hard to detect.
While some pets don't show any sign of having fleas, most display at least some itching. Dogs and cats with flea allergy dermatitis are allergic to the flea's saliva. This can cause severe itching, loss of fur, hot spots, and excessive licking. To keep pets out of your home, be sure to wash your pet's bedding in hot water weekly, keep the grass cut and brush cut short, and eliminate dark, damp places they can hide.
Ticks: A Tiny Parasite That Can Cause Serious Diseases
Ticks burrow into your pet's fur and often can't be seen until they become engorged with blood. They tend to bite most often on the ears, neck, sides, and paws. Ticks are more than just a nuisance since they can transmit Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and other serious diseases. The Department of Entomology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison recommends these prevention tips:
- Be certain to check your pet daily for ticks and remove them immediately using a tweezers. It's important not to twist as you pull up since this could leave part of the tick's body lodged in your pet.
- As with flea prevention, keep grass and brush height to a minimum, remove leaf litter, and clear debris away from your home and the edge of your lawn.
- Request your veterinarian to conduct a tick check at each exam and make sure you're aware of specific tick-borne diseases common to the Grantsburg and Wild River areas.
Our veterinary staff highly recommends Bravecto for both flea and tick prevention. It is an oral chew for dogs that you give just once every 12 weeks. We also offer Nexgard, which is a monthly flea and tick oral product. We are happy to make specific product recommendations for dogs and cats. It's very important to never give a flea and tick preventive meant for a dog to a cat and vice versa.
Heartworms, Roundworms, and Other Intestinal Parasites
Your dog or cat can become an unwilling host to many different types of intestinal parasites. The most common ones include:
- Heartworms: This parasite is transmitted through a mosquito bite. Heartworms can grow to several inches long inside of your pet's heart, lungs, or intestinal tract. Severe infestation can cause respiratory distress or even death.
- Roundworms: Dogs and cats can pick up roundworms through contact with infected feces. This parasite interferes with the digestion and absorption of nutrients.
- Whipworms: Contaminated whipworm eggs are typically found in soil. They are common in dogs but rare in cats. Ingested whipworms can grow in the large intestine of your dog and reproduce.
- Hookworms: This parasite is picked up in the same manner as whipworms. It can cause anemia, pale gums, and severe blood loss because hookworms survive by ingesting blood.
- Tapeworms: Typically transmitted by fleas, tapeworm causes your pet to scoot on her rear end to relieve the discomfort. They can make your pet become malnourished.
Grantsburg Animal Hospital recommends Interceptor Plus, a new product that controls all five of these types of worms. We also offer Heartgard Plus, which prevents heartworms and treats and controls roundworms and hookworms. You can find all of these parasite control products in our online store.